Saving extra from paychecks?

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Editor’s note: This is a transcript of the audio file.

A majority of U.S. consumers who are struggling with their personal finances might have overlooked a nice opportunity to set aside a little extra in savings last year. I’m Kristin Arnold with your Personal Finance Minute.

A recent survey by the National Foundation for Credit Counseling found that only 3 percent of respondents saved most of the extra money in their paychecks from the Social Security payroll tax cut.

The payroll tax cut amounted to approximately $1,000, or $83 per month, for a family earning $50,000 annually, according to the NFCC. The organization said that amount could mean the difference between financial stability and distress each month.

Respondents also reported they put their windfall toward a good purpose: 18 percent said they paid off debt, 8 percent caught up on past-due bills and 4 percent increased their retirement contributions, another form of savings. Only 1 percent, perhaps worn out from frugality, said they treated themselves to something special.

Have you noticed more money in your paychecks? Are you saving the windfall? For more on taxes, visit I’m Kristin Arnold.